After four years, the chairman of the Hurriyat conference and Kashmir’s head priest, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has been set free from house arrest. Soon after his release, Mirwaiz, on Friday, attended the congregational prayers at Srinagar’s Historic Jamia Masjid. It was quite an emotional moment for him, as well as the people who had gathered to see him. As Mirwaiz reached the pulpit of the Mosque, to stand in front of the people, he burst into tears.
“I was kept under house arrest since 4 August 2019. It was despite the fact that authorities had approved my release but nothing was done. At last, I had to go to the court and get my release order. To stay away from you all for years was very difficult for me. This was the toughest time but your prayers and love helped me and I found you all with me always. I know what has happened with you after August 2019 it was not easy; the article was abrogated, and the state was divided. Despite being under house arrest, I always kept an eye on the situation. Today’s situation is no different, we should have patience and believe in god. Islam teaches us to trust in God as after every tough situation, there is bound to be a good time,” said Farooq.
Kashmiri top separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq released after four years of house arrest, weeps before delivering the friday sermon at Jamia Masjid in downtown Srinagar. | Sajad Hameed
“I was allowed to deliver a sermon on the pulpit of Jamia Masjid after 212 consecutive Fridays. I cannot utter my sentiments, but it is all because of the prayers of people that I am here again to deliver the sermon,” he added.
He said that after 5 August 2019, people have faced difficult times as J&K’s special identity was snatched and was bifurcated in two Union Territories.
“As a Mirwaiz, I have the responsibility to raise the voice for the people. The Hurriyat Conference continued to raise its voice, but the media stopped using our statements. I want to tell my people that it is the time to be patient, to keep faith in the Almighty,” he said further.
Farooq arrives to deliver the Friday sermon after four years of house arrest at Grand Mosque in downtown Srinagar. | Sajad Hameed
Farooq said that Hurriyat believes that J&K’s one part is in India while the rest two are in Pakistan and China, and by merging them fully J&K will be complete, which it was on 14 August 1947.
“Part of J&K is with India, one with Pakistan and one with China which forms J&K. We have to seek a solution. We have always worked for peace and non-violence. It is sad that we were called separatists, enemies of people but we had no personal ambitions. We were representing the aspirations of people,” said Farooq.
“Therefore, this issue needs to be resolved. The J & K issue can be a territorial issue for many, but for the people of J&K it is a humanitarian issue,” he added.
Farooq backs PM Modi on ‘this is not an era of war’
Reacting to the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Ukraine issue, Mirwaiz said that he was right in saying that the present era is not of war.
“We too have been advocating for the resolution of the J & K issue through dialogue. Following the path of peace, we had to bear difficulties, but unfortunately, we were branded as separatists, anti-national and anti-peace. But we don’t have any personal ambition, we only want peaceful resolution of the J & K issue. It is because of our peaceful mission that we continued to appeal for the return of Kashmiri migrants,” he said.
He also demanded release of all political prisoners, journalists, lawyers, civil society members and the youth as well.